The clock strikes Nine

The phone lines open

The public facing email folders update, the post arrives, and we’re off!

So begins another day in a life of a BPA Compliance Officer.

For those not in the know, it is the Operational team’s job to ensure that our Approved Operator Scheme (AOS) members abide by, and maintain compliance with our Code of Practice.  We handle calls, emails, letters from the public, and from the members alike, striving to respond to continuous requests for information. We are the BPA’s front line educators!

The phone rings, the motorist says ‘but I was told to just ignore it, it will go away! Won’t it?’ they had believed, what has turned out to be, far from accurate advice from an online forum.  We explain the process for future reference and why that advice was incorrect, including what their options are now, although unfortunately they are limited. 

An email pops up, an operator needs guidance on how to ensure compliance with Keeper Liability legislation. We take the time to look over what they have done so far and offer our guidance and instruction.

The post arrives, someone has sent us their whole medical history as part of an appeal against a parking charge! We are sensitive to the needs of those who contact us however the BPA does not process parking charge appeals. We write back to say that they need to appeal directly to the operator, and the mitigating circumstances they have cited, i.e. the delay in returning to their vehicle caused by their medical conditions is something the operator can consider.

The phone rings again, a driver is crying. We try to calm them as best as possible. Parking is an emotive subject.


It’s 12 Noon!

A mystery shop needs logging. This is a spot check on a random AOS site anywhere in the country. They are carried out by our Area Managers. They will look for things such as does the signage meet requirements for the size and layout? Are they accurate and up to date? This is done to see how the site is compliant with the Code of Practice.  We add the record to our system and if the Area Manager has identified something at a site which requires improving, we inform the operator and ensure that the changes required are made quickly.

An MP has written in to us, apparently parking is one of the top three things in their postbag … what is going to be done?! We respond to say that we are lobbying for government regulation in the form of one Standard Setting Body, one Code of Practice and one appeals service, which will provide easy to understand rules for motorists. We investigate their complaint further where required.

An Audit has come in, the operator has passed with flying colours at this site! Excellent work, it’s good to see! In 2017 we had a 65% first time pass rate for all audits carried out. If an operator doesn’t pass first time we work with them to raise the standards of their operation.

An operator has complained that they didn’t like the POPLA decision which was made. We take the time to go over their evidence pack, was there room for improvement? Yes there was! Feedback is given. If the motorist appealed to POPLA saying that the signage was insufficient at the site, we advise the operator that next time they could try highlighting the site map showing where the signs are.  

A prospective new member has contacted us. We talk through what they will need to do, there is rigorous compliance criteria, and only reputable operators will be able to satisfy this. The time taken to join will depend upon how quickly the applicant can move through the various stages of compliance auditing. There is a lot of paperwork, checks to make, an audit to be carried out, not to mention a probationary trial period before full AOS membership can be awarded.


It’s five pm!

And so ends another day in the life of a BPA Compliance Officer.

The word ‘Compliance’ does not sound like it would be fast paced, but AOS Compliance is with numerous things to do each day! Did you know that the AOS Investigations Team carried out 4,398 investigations into allegations of Compliance breaches in 2017, not to mention the calls, Operator queries, and enquires from the public; all of which have kept us, and continues to keep us on our toes!” 

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